Few things infuriate MMA fans more than a fight being scored incorrectly, though the term “robbery” tends to be thrown around carelessly and is often steeped in bias. With Robbery Review, we’ll take a look back at controversial fights and determine whether the judges were rightly criticized for their decision or if pundits need to examine their own knee-jerk reactions.
Given another chance to prove that his name belongs among the elite at 170 pounds, Michael “Venom” Page’s latest fight somehow only ended up producing more questions.
A win over three-time Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima is exactly what Page needed to bolster his resume. They’d fought two years ago and the British striker was faring well before Lima tripped him up with a leg kick and landed a bomb of a right hand to give Page his first loss in brutal fashion.
Following that setback, Page went an another run of wins against lower-tier competition to set up a rematch with Lima at Bellator 267 this past Friday in London. Page earned a split nod, but the decision immediately caused an uproar on social media and the mostly uneventful fight was hardly satisfying.
Even Page hesitated to boast afterwards, instead suggesting that he and Lima be booked for a trilogy bout to settle the score once and for all.
Before we find out if these two will meet in a rubber match, let’s head to the Robbery Review lab to see whether Page has properly tied up the series or not.
What was the official result?
Michael Page def. Douglas Lima via split decision.
How did the fight go?
As expected, a battle between two of Bellator’s most technical strikers led to plenty of slow spots. Page lived up to his slithery moniker, using his unique movement and speed to set up his offense, while Lima stalked him like a Terminator for three rounds.
At a glance, Page had Lima fighting his fight as he scored the flashier strikes of the contest. In round one, he twice used a lunging right to catch Lima off balance resulting in a pair of stumbles that I’m hesitant to call knockdowns (the second one, a straight shot down the middle was more convincing, but Lima bounced back up immediately). Halfway through the opening round, Lima changed the conversation with a perfectly timed takedown. Page used a closed guard and focused on hand-fighting rather than submissions, sweeps, or just getting up, so he took minimal damage but was also planted on his back until the first buzzer sounded.
Round 2 appeared to tilt back in Page’s favor. He was the busier fighter, though he didn’t land much of substance outside of another lunging right that briefly tripped Lima up again. Page continued to search for offense from long range, but the most significant moment of the round might have been Lima catching him coming in with a leg kick and then nearly repeating the finish from their first fight as Page tilted forward. Still, Page kept things standing and that can only be viewed as a positive.
The final round told a similar story to Round 1, though Page cranked up the lateral movement, perhaps confident that he had the edge in the first two rounds. Unfortunately for Page, Lima got deep into his hips and took him down again and this time his ground-and-pound was more pronounced. He avoided absorbing any devastating strikes, but Page just hanging on and hoping that referee Mike Beltran would stand them up was a bad look. Lima ended the round on top and the fight was a close one heading to the championship rounds.
Oh wait, the fight was only a three-round main event because Bellator is silly.
What did the judges say?
Ben Cartlidge scored it 29-28 Lima.
Eric Colon scored it 29-28 Page.
Doug Crosby scored it 29-28 Page.
All three judges agreed on rounds 2 (10-9 Page) and 3 (10-9 Lima), so the first round was the decider. Colon and Crosby scored Round 1 10-9 for Page to give him the nod.
What did the numbers say?
We’re going to have to go to the on-screen stats here, which aren’t all too helpful as they make no distinction between total strikes and significant strikes (neither of which are gospel when determining the winner of a fight anyway). Worse, they do not show whether any of Page’s lunging right hands actually registered as knockdowns, which was probably the most important factor in determining Round 1.
If Page was credited with even one knockdown in Round 1, that should be his frame; if not, it’s 10-9 Lima for his work on the ground.
The total strikes tell us practically nothing as we know much of it was pitter-patter stuff, including several of the punches that Lima landed from top position. Knowing what techniques were thrown and landed isn’t informative without knowing where they landed.
The numbers don’t say much here is what I’m saying.
What did the media say?
The lone outlet to score the fight for Page was SevereMMA.com, who went with a 29-28 score in his favor.
What did the people say?
Fan voting on MMA Decision was also significantly in favor of Lima, with 29-28 Lima leading at 48 percent and another 15.7 percent scoring it 30-27 Lima. That’s just under 65 percent in favor of the former champion.
That said, 29-28 Page came in comfortably at second with 29.7 percent of the vote, so I’m hesitant to call this an overwhelming show of public support for Lima.
If you want to hear even more from the people, check out the response to MMA Fighting’s winner’s announcement in the replies here:
A few fellow fighters expressed their outrage on Lima’s behalf.
Idk of Lima is taking that in London— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) October 1, 2021
Wow, Douglas lima just got robbed.— Cody Durden (@Cody_Durden) October 1, 2021
WTF are these judges drinking ♂️— Henri Hooft (@henrihooft) October 1, 2021
Fighters should be be given a pool of judges and him and opponent agree on them! Some of the judges consistently bad! Stealing peoples careers from them ♂️— Mike "Biggie" Rhodes (@TeamRocBiggie) October 1, 2021
How did I score it?
I didn’t score any knockdowns for Page, and yet I still think he has a decent case for a win here.
Even if Lima just slipped twice in Round 1, those slips were still the results of right hands landing clean and sadly, in a fight with little of note to score, those rights did more damage than anything Lima did in the first five minutes. With the benefit of replay and being able to closely scrutinize Lima’s ground attack, I could see he really doesn’t score big and that’s a credit to Page’s defense (even if Page was defending in the most boring way possible).
So I gave Round 1 to Page 10-9, even though it’s really more of a 10-9.9 if we’re being honest with ourselves. Then again, the same could be said of the second and third rounds, so you can see why this wasn’t a fun fight to score at all.
I agree with the judges for the other rounds, so it’s an unresounding 29-28 Page for me in the end.
Was it a robbery?
Was there any point where you felt that Lima was definitively winning this fight outside of maybe the last two and a half minutes? Again, I ask this question having the benefit of replay, so how one viewed the fight live is likely different than how I viewed it after watching it under a microscope for the purposes of this Robbery Review.
That said, Page wasn’t exactly lighting up the scoreboards with his offense either, and whether he ever knocked Lima down is inconclusive, so it’s understandable that Lima’s brief moments of ground-and-pound could be favored over Page’s flashes of striking success.
I have no issue with anyone scoring the fight for Lima, but I can’t see a strong argument against a Page victory either. You know what that means.
The final verdict
Not a robbery. Now let’s run this back and tack on a couple more rounds, please.
Was Michael Page’s win over Douglas Lima a robbery?
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